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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure. - John D. Rockefeller

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Tirenno-Adriatico just finished

Here's are the final reports from the teams:

BMC with overall winner Greg van Avermaet gets first crack:

15 March, San Benedetto del Tronto: Greg Van Avermaet has put in a stellar individual time trial performance on the final day of Tirreno-Adriatico to secure the overall race victory.

Van Avermaet was the last rider to hit the course and stopped the clock on the 10km ITT with one second to spare over runner-up Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and 23 seconds on Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick-Step) who rounded out the podium. Fabian Cancellara claimed victory in the time trial.

"One second is not a lot but it was enough to win the race. I knew it would be close and I'm not the best time trialist but I hoped to beat Sagan. I'm really happy that the one second difference is on my side. I never dreamed about winning Tirreno-Adriatico but I did it," Van Avermaet said.

Van Avermaet is the first Belgian rider to win Tirreno-Adriatico since 1977. "It's amazing to win this race and it's really nice to have this on my palmares. I'm feeling really confident going into Milan-San Remo this Saturday. The Classics are still my main goal but I'm going in with a few nice victories in my pocket. It's nice to now go to the first big Classic a bit more relaxed."

Greg an Avermaet

Greg van Averemaet gets the traditional trident.

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Max Sciandri said the team had its sights set on overall victory from the start. "We went in with Tejay van Garderen as leader and Greg was really our guy for the stage wins. We had a brilliant week with the TTT victory on the first day and then Greg's stage win yesterday. It was really unfortunate for Tejay who lost time yesterday in a crash that caused him to need a wheel change. For the team to still walk away with the overall win is amazing," Sciandri said.

"Even before he was in contention for the GC, Greg was really solid. Sometimes it pays off for the strong riders like Greg. The confidence, the morale, the motivation is all there now for Milan-San Remo. Tirreno-Adriatico now goes into his palmares as a great race to win."

BMC Racing Team finish Tirreno-Adriatico with two stage wins, the stage 1 team time trial and Van Avermaet's stage 6 victory, as well his overall race win.

Tinkoff and Peter Sagan, who came so close, sent this:

Nailbiting finish sees Peter Sagan take second overall and Maglia Rossa at Tirreno-Adriatico. 

In one of the closest-fought races in the history of Tirreno-Adriatico, Peter Sagan took second in the overall GC, just one second off the top spot of the podium. In an incredible performance on the Individual Time Trial on the last day, Peter completed the 10.05km course in 11:32, with Maciej Bodnar putting in an amazing performance to come 6th on the stage, with a time of 11:25. Peter takes the Maglia Rossa for his performance in the points classification.

With Tirreno-Adriatico's road race ending on stage 6 and only seconds separating the top three, there was everything still to race for on stage 7, where the outcome of the Race of the Two Seas was to be decided on the individual time trial. The course was a straight 'out and back' route over a flat 10.05km course in the picturesque seaside town of San Benedetto del Tronto on Italy's east coast.

From the start, Peter Sagan went on the attack. Setting a time of 11:32 it was then a matter of waiting to see how his rivals in the GC performed. As the seconds ticked on, it was clear that Peter had set a strong time. It was all down to the last rider - but as BMC's Van Avermaet crossed the line, only a second separated Peter and first place.

"You can always say if, if, if... but today it didn't happen for us in the end." Sport Director, Lars Michaelsen, said after the race. "Peter was really battling to recover from his efforts in the previous day's and still did, in my opinion, a great time trial. Maciej Bodnar did a strong ride to finish in the top ten and we used his time splits for Peter."

Peter Sagan riding his time trial

Peter Sagan riding to within a single second of winning Tirreno-Adiratico

Looking back on the week, Peter was happy to finish on the podium. "If you look at the result, it's easy to be disappointed, but I'm not - if it weren't for the cancelled stage I wouldn't be here fighting for the win. I've done my best to be here and in this position in the GC, and I did my best today as well. I've won stages here in the past, so it's a pity I didn't make it this year, however, I have big goals ahead in the season, so if you look at it from that point of view overall it went very well."

"Overall I'm happy with what we've achieved in Tirreno-Adriatico." Peter continued. "The team did brilliant work and my teammates worked hard, but my form is very good and I think now that we can safely tackle the rest of the season."

Lars was supportive of the team and the way they had raced together. "The positive note for me and the team is that it was a good result overall, together with the other stages, and we have to keep going on winning. We came here to win a stage and came close on several occasions, which is frustrating."

Looking forward, Lars was pleased with the team's form for the Classics. "The guys have got a lot of race kilometres in the legs ahead of an important part of the season, the Classics, and this will be very important and they can use this to keep getting stronger. Yesterday's ride in particular they demonstrated what a strong team we are and we can carry that thought forward to keep pushing and as motivation."

With Milan-San Remo the next race on Peter's calendar, he felt it was too soon to talk about his chances, having only just completed Tirreno-Adriatico. "San Remo is the next main goal but it's still five days away, so at this stage it's too early to talk about it. There are many favourites and we shall see on Saturday what will happen. I feel I'm in good form, but even if you're in perfect form you're not guaranteed to have the best result."

Heads-Up! Milano-San Remo is Saturday, March 19

Here's AG2r's squad to the great race:

Milan San-Remo 291 km

Composition de l'équipe: Gediminas BAGDONAS (Lit), Jan BAKELANTS (Bel), Axel DOMONT, Patrick GRETSCH (All), Hugo HOULE (Can), Mattéo MONTAGUTI (Ita), Christophe RIBLON , Jesse SERGENT (NZL)

Directeur sportif: Arturas KASPUTIS

Lampre-Merida sent this Milano-San Remo press release:

Davide Cimolai is one of the Italian riders who'll try to achieve a top result in the Milano-Sanremo, which will take place on Saturday 19th March.

Lampre-Merida's cyclist will try to do better than the 9th place he obtained in the 2015 edition. Independently from the agonistic result, the participation of Cimolai in the Classicissima will have an incomparable extra value: the Italian athlete will ride also for a purpose of social solidarity.

Cimolai will cover the 291 km from Milan to Sanremo riding on a Merida Reacto which will be decorated with small diamonds. Thanks to the work of the jeweller Innocente Ciciliot, on Cimolai's bike will be attached two crests on the City of Milan and of the City of Sanremo.

At the end of the season, the bike will be auctioned and the proceeds will be allocated to the hospice "Casa Fonte Antica" in Vittorio Veneto, where the cancer patients receive palliative treatments.

These a very beautiful resons for supporting Cimolai for the Milano-Sanremo.

Here's BMC's news about Milano-San Remo:

15 March, Santa Rosa, California (USA): On the back of his Tirreno-Adriatico win, Greg Van Avermaet will lead BMC Racing Team at Milan-San Remo this Saturday.

Van Avermaet showed his form when he took the win on Tirreno-Adriatico stage 6 yesterday and secured the overall race win in today's Individual Time Trial, BMC Racing Team Sports Director Valerio Piva said. "Greg is in great shape going into Milan-San Remo and he will be supported by some of our best Classics riders. We're going into the race confident and of course we want to win," Piva confirmed.

Van Avermaet is looking for his second Classics win of the season when he lines up at Milan-San Remo after taking the win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. "My victories at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Tirreno-Adriatico give me a lot of confidence. I know I'm in good shape so it will be all about tactics on the day. At 291 kilometers, it's a long race but that's what I love and where I really get to show what I've got," Van Avermaet said.

Philippe Gilbert was set to line up this Saturday, however an upper respiratory infection diagnosed at Paris-Nice has ruled him out.

"We were hoping that Philippe would have enough time to recover and be fit and healthy to race at Milan-San Remo. Philippe had another medical examination yesterday and he, after consultation with BMC Racing Team management and our medical team, agrees that it is not in his best interests to race," Piva explained.

Milan-San Remo (19 March), Rider roster: Marcus Burghardt (GER), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Max Sciandri (ITA)

LottoNL-Jumbo's Milano-San Remo scoop:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo goes to Milano-Sanremo with Sep Vanmarcke as its main gun. The Belgian will debut in the longest one-day-race of the year and be covered by experienced team-mates.

“Sep Vanmarcke, Paul Martens and Enrico Battaglin should be able to play a role in the final of the race and it should be great if Moreno Hofland can do that, as well,” sports director Jan Boven said about the top guns in his line-up.

“Sep is our front man. We think that Milano- Sanremo suits him and that’s why he is participating in this race. He already proved to be in good shape in the last weeks. He showed that he’s quite fast after such a long race as well.”

Vanmarcke will receive support from an experienced team. “Paul is in good shape and Enrico has been riding some finals already,” Boven added. “They can play a role on the Poggio. Even they are racing to make a good result. Besides that, Maarten Tjallingii is in the team. He did a fantastic job in the last two editions of Milano-Sanremo. With Tom Leezer and Jos van Emden, we have two more experienced riders who know the race and are able to support the front men until the final kilometres.”

It’s going to be Vanmarcke’s first time in Milano - Sanremo, but he thinks that he’s well prepared. “I did a recon, this week to see how the climbs and downhills are,” Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s front man says. “I know what I can expect, now. I’ve had an intensive week in Paris-Nice as well, so I’m going to Italy in good shape. I except to be amongst the best riders at the Poggio. I want to have a good position there to go for a nice result.”

Line-up: Tom Van Asbroeck, Enrico Battaglin, Jos van Emden, Moreno Hofland, Tom Leezer, Paul Martens, Maarten Tjallingii and Sep Vanmarcke.

Sports director: Jan Boven.

Asian rider joins Orica-GreenEdge

Here's the good news from the team:

ORICA-GreenEDGE is pleased to welcome 2016 Asian road race and time trial champion Cheung King-Lok to the team roster this year. The Hong Kong rider will join the Australian outfit as a neo-pro alongside the likes of Jack Haig, Alexander Edmondson and Robert Power.

“First of all, I am really honoured to be a part of the ORICA-GreenEDGE professional cycling team,” King-Lok said. “The team is a very strong team in the WorldTour, I was so excited when I knew this news from my head coach.”

“This is my professional debut. It's a new step, a big chance for me to breakthrough in areas such as strength, skill sets, tactics, all about cycling and even something about our life.”

Pending his transition into the team’s programme King-Lok could start racing as soon as the Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja in early April.

But the 25-year-old, who also represented Hong Kong at the recent UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London, also recognises the learning curve ahead.

“I know that it's a huge difference between Europe and Asia,” the 2013 Tour of Korea runner-up said. “I hope I can adapt to the rhythm of it as soon as possible. I am willing to do it well and be a great Asian rider in ORICA-GreenEDGE".

“Communication is the most important part in cycling, because we need teamwork inside. I would definitely communicate more with my new teammates, to know everyone, and to know how the team works.”

King-Lok joined team owner Gerry Ryan and general manager Shayne Bannan in Hong Kong today to make the announcement in conjunction with the Cycling Association of Hong Kong, China (HKCA) and Hong Kong Sports Institute.

Bannan was pleased to welcome the young rider having followed his progression for a number of seasons."We are really excited about bringing Cheung King-Lok to the team and to help him take the next steps of his career with us,” Bannan said. “Cycling is a rapidly growing global sport and having the possibility to take on young riders like Cheung is a big part what we want to do.”

“We have followed his development closely and worked really well with the Hong Kong Cycling Federation to identify the best path for him to take. There is some extraordinay work being done out here and we are happy to have the possibility to be part of it.

“Having seen Cheung race both on the road and most recently at the track worlds, I have been really impressed his performances and there is great potential for him.”

Cheung Kink-Lok

Bannan is confident King-Lok will benefit from ORICA-GreenEDGE’s development program that has seen the likes of Caleb Ewan, Simon and Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves grow into strong riders among the professional peloton.

“Our approach with young riders turning professional has always been to have them develop under our best possible guidance to make sure they learn things the right way without losing sight of who they are and this will certainly also be the case for Cheung,” Bannan said.

“We are all looking forward to welcoming him on the team and to see him race in the ORICA-GreenEDGE colours.”

Cheung King-Lok
Date of birth: 8th February 1981 (25)
Nationality: Hong Kong
Turned pro: 2016

Palmares:
- 2016 Asian road race and time trial champion
- 2015 & 2014 Hong Kong time trial champion
- 2014 Hong Kong road race champion

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary